Robert D. Mitchell
Product Information Manager5-SERIES FOR 1994: THREE NEW V-8 MODELS, ALL SEASON TRACTION AND DUAL AIRBAGS HIGHLIGHT FUNCTIONAL EVOLUTION Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey...BMW's 5-Series is internationally recognized as an ideal blend of performance, driving pleasure, spacious practicality and sporty elegance. For 1994, a wide- ranging development program has made this blend better than ever. Most visibly, three new V-8 models raise the 5-Series' already impressive level of smooth performance: the 3-liter 530i Sedan and Touring (sports wagon) and the 4-liter 540i Sedan. But BMW has once again enhanced the performance and value of the two 6-cylinder models, the 525i Sedan and Touring, as well. And across the entire Series there are improvements that keep these midsize BMWs fresh and appealing. POWERFUL REVOLUTION: THREE NEW V-8 MODELS RAISE THE LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE AND REFINEMENT As the value leader among the new 5-Series V-8s, the 530i Sedan assumes a remarkable role. It can be seen as the successor to the popular 535i, which Automobile Magazine called "the essence of everything BMW has been about since the Sixties...a car any enthusiast could love, loaded with character plus a kind of physicality that everybody advertises and very few achieve." Much of that "physicality" was attributable to the 535i's vigorous 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine, which combined powerful thrust with exemplary smoothness and thrilling sounds. But BMW isn't named the Bavarian Motor Works for nothing; an even better engine has been developed for the midsize BMW sports sedan. In the BMW tradition, the new 530i is named for a 3.0-liter engine: a brand-new V-8 that, thanks to its four overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and a host of other new engineering features, delivers more power and higher fuel efficiency than it's illustrious 3.5-liter predecessor. And being a V-8, it does so with even greater smoothness and more exciting sounds than ever. THE NEW V-8 ENGINE: HIGH-TECH THROUGHOUT AND A BMW ENGINE IN EVERY WAY In its basic construction, the 530i engine is essentially identical to the 4.0-liter V-8 introduced last year in the new BMW 740i and 740iL; the primary differences are a somewhat smaller bore and a considerably shorter stroke. Its weight-saving aluminum cylinder block is cast with closed-deck construction (webbing connecting the tops of the cylinders) for a very rigid overall structure that helps prevent distortion during operation, minimizing wear. A new technology further contributes to the V-8's light weight of only approximately 470 pounds including electricals and cooling. Instead of the steel cylinder liners used by many carmakers in aluminum blocks, long-wearing cylinder walls are created by depositing a "dispersion layer" of nickel on the aluminum via galvanic action. Called Galnikal, this process was used for some years in BMW motorcycle engines before being introduced in the V-8 engine, so it's not an untried technology -- just an advanced one. Another fascinating feature is the V-8's sintered connecting rods. Instead of the usual two separately forged pieces, which require locating sleeves to bolt together precisely, this new type of rod is first forged as a single piece. Then, at a predetermined fracture line (think of tearing paper along a perforation), the lower portion (big end) is broken off. The resulting rough surfaces at the break can go back together only one way, so sleeves are not needed; thus the rods are lighter and more consistent in weight. In turn, their lightness and weight consistency help make the engine smoother. Dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder are no longer unusual, but even some prestigious engines with these technologies lack the premium feature of chain-driven camshafts. In the BMW V-8 a large duplex (double-row) chain drives the intake camshaft of each bank; small duplex chains take the drive from the intake to the exhaust camshafts. All three chains are automatically tensioned and engineered to last, so they require no periodic service as do the belt drives of some competing models. Hydraulic valve lifters -- another feature not present in some of the 530i's principal competitors -- eliminate periodic valve adjustments. A thermoplastic intake manifold contributes to the V-8's low weight and high performance. Weighing 63 percent less than a comparable aluminum manifold, it also has smoother interior passages that reduce airflow friction. The polyamid plastic is fully recyclable, as is the metal melted out of it after casting; indeed, this metal is recycled repeatedly in Managing the fuel-injection and ignition systems is a Digital Motor Electronics (DME) Motronic 3.3 system with simplified microprocessor circuitry. The fuel injection uses a hot metal film in the incoming airstream to measure the air mass entering the engine at any instant. This film, carried on a ceramic substrate, is highly resistant to electromagnetic radiation and vibration and thus has advantages in consistency of operation as well as durability. Fuel delivery is fully sequential (that is, precisely timed for each cylinder, rather than in pairs or groups), and the fuel quantity as well is controlled individually for each cylinder. This improves fuel efficiency and emission control. As with BMW's other new-generation engines, direct ignition -- a coil for each cylinder -- reduces the number of moving parts, reduces radio and telephone interference, and allows more precise control of ignition timing at the individual cylinders. Barring malfunction, ignition adjustment is never necessary. Knock control is another feature that boosts the V-8's performance and efficiency. Employing four knock sensors (two per cylinder bank), this system senses any incipient knocking in the cylinders and signals the DME system to retard the ignition until it ceases. Thus the ignition timing does not have to have the usual "margin of safety" to allow for inferior fuel; the engine operates at peak efficiency at all times except when poor fuel is encountered. Further innovations are found in the exhaust system. Beyond the corrosion resistance provided by BMW's usual use of stainless steel, the V-8 introduces chrome-nickel-silicon steel in components subject to the greatest corrosion risk. And new double-wall tubing from the engine to the catalytic converter improves heat insulation in this critical area, allowing the two oxygen sensors to reach optimum operating temperature sooner after a cold start and thus improving emission control. Heat under the hood is also reduced, making it easier on wiring, electrical components and so forth. When the 530i's hood is opened, one sees little of this advanced technology. Instead, there's an uncommonly clean, attractive appearance that continues BMW's tradition of handsome engines and compartments. This is achieved partly by the direct ignition's reduction of wiring, partly by fine molded covers. The 530i V-8 is a classic BMW engine in that it delivers strong performance right across its speed range, yet truly sings at higher engine speeds. Its maximum output of 215 horsepower comes at 5800 rpm, and lends the 530i essentially the same acceleration performance as the previous 535i. AVAILABLE WITH 5-SPEED MANUAL AND AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS Testing this engine in the heavier 730i (a model not available in the U.S.), Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported that "it hurries easily into the highest rev ranges" and, with manual transmission, "combines driving pleasure and refinement in a unique way." What's unusual here is that the 530i -- unlike other V-8 sports-luxury models -- is actually available with a manual transmission. It's BMW's extra-efficient 5-speed unit with direct 5th gear, whose well chosen ratios and ease of shifting were also praised by the German magazine's writer. For those who prefer not to shift for themselves -- but still delight in responsive and efficient performance -- BMW offers an enticing alternative: an outstanding new 5-speed automatic transmission for the new V-8 engines. One of this transmission's features is a 1st gear that's notably "lower" (numerically higher) than usual, to improve off-the-line and low-speed response. Second gear is close to what the usual 1st gear would be, keeping up the lively response. As in the 4-speed automatic of other BMW models, the top gear (5th here) is an overdrive for quiet, fuel-efficient cruising. A STEP FORWARD IN ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION TECHNOLOGY: ADAPTIVE TRANSMISSION CONTROL BMW was a pioneer in electronically controlled transmissions; beginning with September 1993 production, the 5-Series 5-speed automatic evolves this concept in a fascinating way with its new Adaptive Transmission Control (ATC). Instead of the driver selecting one or the other shift mode via a console switch, ATC employs a new electronic logic that recognizes the driver's present driving style, certain environmental conditions (such as hills or reduced traction) and driving conditions (such as vigorous cornering or stop-and-go traffic), and selects the optimum shift mode and gear(s) for that set of circumstances. For details, see the separate release on Adaptive Transmission Control. As in other BMW automatics, shifts are smoothed by automatic engine ignition retard during shifts; this engine-transmission interaction is smoother thanks to a new Controller Area Network (CAN) high-speed data bus that utilizes multiplex technology to transfer up to 1 million bits of data per second. In 4th and 5th gears, a smoother-acting torque-converter lockup clutch helps improve fuel efficiency. And yet keen drivers will note that BMW hasn't carried all this smoothness too far: The transmission shifts with decision and authority that enhance BMW's typical driver-vehicle interaction. 530i FEATURES AND EQUIPMENT: EXCELLENT VALUE, NEW OPTIONS Distinguishable from the outside by new, wider BMW "kidney" grille centers and its trunklid identification badge, the 530i has the same sporty, wide cross-spoke alloy wheels as its predecessor. Braking is provided by large-diameter 4-wheel discs, naturally with ABS. Interior luxury is enhanced by standard gathered leather upholstery, high-gloss walnut trim and a system that can be programmed to ventilate the interior while the car is standing. The unique double-lock feature of BMW's central locking system adds security. The front shoulder belts' height adjusts automatically with the power seats; as in all other 1994 BMWs, automatic front seatbelt tensioners are standard. As of September '93, dual airbags are also standard. Ellipsoid low-beam headlamps provide a more concentrated, powerful lighting pattern. A useful new option for dealing with ice, snow and rain is BMW's All Season Traction, which can improve both driving stability and traction under slippery road conditions. (See separate release.) Also available optionally is BMW's Onboard Computer, which provides useful travel and fuel-economy information. 530i TOURING: THE NEW KIND OF BMW, NOW WITH V-8 POWER TOO Having made its 1992 debut as a 525i model with the 2.5-liter DOHC 6-cylinder engine, BMW's sports wagon now appears as a second model, the 530i Touring with the same new 3.0- liter V-8 as the 530i Sedan. Sharing the Sedan's basic chassis and exterior dimensions except height, the Touring was conceived not as a conventional station wagon, but as a thoroughbred BMW sports sedan with additional practicality. Like the Sedan, it seats five persons comfortably without being bulky on the outside. And like the Sedan, it delights the eye with a graceful, elegant silhouette. Several special features contribute to the Touring's special versatility -- something AutoWeek called "a package that you could get very used to. " One is its multi-function tailgate, which allows loading smaller objects by merely opening its relatively light, counterbalanced rear window. Another is its unique twin-panel power sunroof, which opens four different ways for the enjoyment of front- and rear-seat occupants alike. Yet another is a multi-function roof-rack system, for which tracks are recessed into the roof. Along with the V-8 engine -- which in combination with the 5-speed automatic transmission delivers a very significant performance boost -- comes All Season Traction as standard in the 530i Touring. "Maybe it was because the car seemed so safe and comfortable when thunderstorms drenched the landscape," AutoWeek explained its enjoyment of the 525i Touring. With the 530i Touring's higher performance and standard All Season Traction, they surely would have enjoyed it even more. TOP OF THE 5-SERIES: THE NEW 540i For a year or so, the 740i and 740iL have been convincing critics and owners with the performance and smoothness of BMW's 4.0-liter V-8 engine and 5-speed automatic transmission. Now comes the 540i, which puts the same powertrain into the sportier, somewhat lighter and more compact 5-Series sedans. Without adding any appreciable extra weight, the extra liter of engine displacement (over the 530i's 3.0-liter V-8) increases power output 67 hp to 282 hp, and raises torque from 214 to 295 lb-ft. It pretty well goes without saying, then, that the 540i offers truly brilliant performance: Factory data indicate just 6.7 seconds for the 0-60-mph sprint with the standard 5- speed automatic. (A manual t ransmission isn't offered in the 540i.) With this combination, notes the not-easily-impressed Auto Motor und Sport, BMW has "transplanted the peak of the art of building automobiles into its middle Series" and created "quite simply, one of the best cars in the world." There's more to the 540i, though, than just the larger engine. Ventilated rear disc brakes replace the 530i's solid ones. Along with the wider grille centers, the 4-liter model is set off visually by new honeycomb-pattern alloy wheels (as on the 740i) on the outside, and a touch of extra leather (the door pulls/armrests) inside. In place of the 530i's manual telescopic steering- wheel adjustment is a power adjustment, combined with a memory system that captures three positions of the steering wheel, driver's seat and shoulder-belt height, and outside mirrors. The Onboard Computer is standard, as is a new Remote Entry Security System with its control buttons integrated into the head of the master key. THE 6-CYLINDER MODELS: NEW FEATURES FOR THE 525i SEDAN AND TOURING Two 5-Series models, the 525i Sedan and Touring, are powered by BMW's 2.5-liter dual- overhead-camshaft, 24-valve engine. Last year, this classically smooth BMW inline 6-cylinder unit was extensively upgraded with variable valve timing, knock control and reduced internal friction; improved performance and fuel efficiency resulted, particularly with the automatic transmission that is optional in the Sedan and standard in the Touring. For 1994, BMW once again improves performance with the automatic transmission by altering the 525i automatic's internal gearing: 1st and 2nd gears are now 19% and 10% "lower" (numerically higher) for stronger acceleration at low to medium speeds. Indeed, factory data indicate that the 525i Sedan now reaches 60 mph in 9.1 seconds (vs. 9.7 before) -- a significant improvement in anybody's book. This smooth electronically controlled 4-speed automatic continues with manual selection of its three shift modes via its selector lever and a console switch. And for driving enthusiasts who prefer to do their own shifting, the precision of the 525i Sedan's standard 5-speed manual "gearbox" makes that a particularly pleasurable activity. As the "entry" model in the 5-Series, the 525i Sedan is a beautifully equipped car, sharing virtually all the luxury features of the 530i Sedan. In several respects, it has been brought into line with the 530i Sedan for 1994: Ellipsoid low-beam headlights, the uprated 10-channel/250-watt (peak power) audio system and availability of All Season Traction are three such improvements. As the 6-cylinder sports wagon, the 525i Touring also enters 1994 with several upgrades: the wide-ratio automatic transmission, ellipsoid lights, 250-watt audio system and optional All Season Traction are joined here by newly standard leather interior trim. BMW's unique twin-panel power sunroof is optional for the 5 25i Touring. BMW WARRANTIES AND ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE: STANDARD WITH EVERY 5-SERIES MODEL All 1994 BMWs are covered by the BMW Limited Warranty, which provides basic coverage for 4 years/50,000 miles and corrosion coverage for 6 years. BMW Roadside Assistance is also provided for the first 4 years/50,000 miles of ownership, and can be extended for a small annual charge with BMW's Service Card. New for all 1994 5-Series models is optional availability of the BMW Maintenance Program, which covers most regular maintenance for the first 4 years/50,000 miles. With the new V-8 models, the extensive range of functional refinements and the new options -- not to mention pricing that keeps it thoroughly competitive with its rivals in the marketplace, the BMW 5-Series is sure to win even more happy customers for 1994.